Change Made Easier

Want to make a change in the world? Is there a policy or corporate decision you disagree with and believe that you could collect enough signatures on a petition to reverse it? Up until a few years ago you would either have to stand in the entrance of your local supermarket, or go door to door to collect signatures for your petition. As someone who has tried going door to door before, I know that this method can be very time consuming and ineffective. Luckily, the website Change.org has made creating a successful and effective petition campaign painless.

Going Door-to-Door Petitioning Can Be Time Consuming and Ineffective

Change.org was started in 2007 by Standford University classmates Ben Rattray and Mark Dimas as a free social enterprise to empower people in changing their communities. Before becoming a petition site, Rattray and Dimas experimented in social fundraising, group volunteerism, and virtual political action groups until they came upon the idea of making Change.org a site for petitions in 2010. Since then, Change.org has been a contributing factor in many successful community campaigns including; getting Bank of America to cancel a new debit charge, getting the National Park Service to reinstate a water bottle ban(see my previous article A Water Bottle Story), and Seventeen Magazines recent policy change that they will no longer Photoshop images of their models.

According to the Change.org tips page, running a successful campaign can be done in three steps. The first step is to create your free online petition via Change.org. The second step is to  promote your campaign through your social networks and social media( ex. Facebook or twitter), and the third step is to talk to your decision makers. Change.org then breaks down each of these steps and provides tips on how to complete each step effectively. 

Each petition page includes a signature counter tracking the campaigns progress, a description of the campaign, a sample petition letter, explanations of support by signers, and a place to follow the petitions progress.  When you sign a petition you have the option to choose whether you want your signature displayed publicly or not.  Though your email is required for signature, Change.org promises not to sell or distribute the signers email address. Change.org also monitors all petitions for spammers and fake signatures.

For those of you who don’t have a campaign of your own but would like to support or read about other people’s petitions, Change.org is a very easy website to browse  You can look through featured petitions, search by keyword, or browse by topic. Some ENN blog related topic categories include Animals, Environment ,and Sustainable Food

Change.org is an excellent tool for anyone interested in being a catalyst for political and social change.  By using society’s current obsession with social media and the internet, Change.org allows site users to have a real impact. I recommend checking out Change.org to all ENN readers. Not every petition on Change.org has been a success (there must be thousands of incomplete petitions) but they probably made it a lot further then without the sight.

Door-to-Door via Shutterstock

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

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